This is the first of Phil Diskin's two, unrelated appearances on Barney Miller. He can also be seen later this season in "Obituary."
When Barney (finally) visits Dietrich and Harris holed up in the hotel, Dietrich invites him to watch TV with them, as Taxiwill be on next. There is indistinct mumbling coming from the set at the time. At the time this episode originally aired, Taxidid indeed follow BM on ABC's schedule. Wonder what they were watching?
Harris: It's your turn to watch Ming the Merciless.
Ming the Merciless is the main villain in the Flash Gordon cartoon strip. First appearing in 1934 Ming isthe power hungry and ruthless dictator of the planet Mongo. Asian in appearance, Ming has come to personify super villainy.